Travel log: Day 1 going to Gnomedex

MKE to MSP: My flight was at 9:10 in the morning, a pretty reasonable time until you realize that the Transportation Suppression Authority is going to want their pound of flesh and perhaps an hour or more to consume it.

Anyway, there I am in front of the airport giving wife and daughter a kiss goodbye when I realize my phone is sitting at home. My wife, joy of my life, goes back home to get it after a brief should I/shouldn’t I discussion.

Finally I’m up where I need to be – at the gate. I’ve thwarted all attempts to suppress my efforts at transportation. I’ve gotten myself fed and watered and ready for a short wait at the gate to enjoy General Mitchell’s complementary (there was no mention of fees on the sign) Wi-Fi service.

It only takes a few tries and I believe my iPAQ is connected. I pull up my browser and get my regular home page (cached) instead of the intro page for the Wi-Fi service. This doesn’t bode well. Sure enough, the free Wi-Fi is good for everything but accessing the Internet.

The gate attendant starts announcing the rows that are permitted to board, and slowly we all file onto the plane. In a misguided attempt to give me a ”good” seat, they’ve put me in a low row number. Someone needs to explain to the airlines that noise from being behind the engines is no longer much of an issue, but being stuck with only picked over overhead space is.

Speaking of which, as I got on the plane I saw a sign titled ”Need more space?” with two pictures. The first shows a carry on bag placed in an overhead bin sideways, which wastes space, the second shows the more efficient front to back placement. When I’m finally in my seat I look up at the bin across the isle – there’s a bag sitting there sideways.

We take off and I settle in to do some serious writing and pull out my folding keyboard. It doesn’t work. At least I’m getting pretty good with Fitaly.

I end up in a conversation with the guy next to me, who runs a company called TPS International that does manufacturing systems. Dean’s a good guy, and we talk about printing, palm computing and manufacturing. I love those conversations because there is so much to learn.

Later at MSP I find the internet isn’t free – it’s $7 for “a session.” If I get desperate I’ll use my cell phone. I sit and have a beer, and finally get my keyboard working – while I like Fitaly, I like a keyboard better.

I get on the flight to SEA, and once again I’m stuck in a middle seat. At least I’m not tall like the guy next to me. That poor guy is really shoe-horned into his space. He’s an environmental science student, and we chat for a long time about all kinds of things. It’s one of those conversations where all of a sudden the plane’s on the ground and you realize you never got the person’s name.

I take a taxi to the hotel. The taxi driver is efficient, although he starts writing in a log book as we’re going through a complicated interchange, which was pretty exciting.

The Warwick hotel is an older hotel, but is nice. My company’s ?preferred? supplier was booked, as were a few others so this was it. One thing that amazes me is that they charge for Wi-Fi. I do not understand how anyone can still get away with this. But here in Seattle, where you’d think free Wi-Fi would be a must, everybody charges for it. What is lost is made up for in location – they’re closer than most hotels to the conference.

Anyway, in the evening I met up with Matt Kelly of Strategy Software and we talk about the new stuff they have coming out. They’re one of they companies that “gets it”, and the new enhancements sound good. We also discussed CI, the challenge of selling it as a function, and promoting it as an internal consultancy. Matt’s a pretty sharp guy and it was a productive discussion.

Then it’s off to bed.

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